Monday, September 24, 2007

Concert Review - The Renegade Saints

Neil Young used to call his backing band Crazy Horse the "3rd Best Garage Band in the World" behind the Stones (#1) and whoever was the hottest in the world that night (#2).

I think I might have witnessed the #2 spot for Sunday Sept 23. Except they aren't really a garage band. A guy I was with said the sound was like "The Allman Brothers meet The Dead" but I prefer to call them "Oregon's first and best Supergroup."

The band is The Renegade Saints, and my disclaimer is that I know all of these guys and have played in bands with most of them, stretching way back to the early 90s. My old band, The Strangers, toured the same circuit as the Saints in the 90s, and we even jammed in each other's sets when we shared bills or happened to be in the same town.

I always thought these guys were special. In this five piece band, you have three prolific singers, two smoking guitarists, a super epic rhythm section and to top it off, one of Oregon's best (if not THE best) Hammond organist. And four superb songwriters. That might have been the problem in the 90s, as tensions around direction pulled the band apart more than 10 years ago.

But time heals all ills, and over the last three years, the Saints have re-grouped to do one off shows here and there. The bio on their MySpace says "Recently, they’ve dusted off the old material, with better musical chops, better voices, better clothes (but less hair and shorter solos)."

I got to see the reunited Saints last night at the final gig of a string of shows they did around the State. I am not going to do my usual play by play review of who did what and how killer one song was over the other because frankly I don't know all the song names, and I am not sure my faithful readers would appreciate the granularity about a band they don't know!

However, I will say that the band has always excelled at alternating between acoustic based country-ish songs and riff laden, dual guitar heavy monsters. And some seriously ferocious jams.

I got all of that last night. But I got more. A lot more (OK, enough with the Spinal Tap quote - sorry, I got off track).

Anyway, check out the clip of the song "Delivered" on the band's MySpace page and you will see what I am talking about. And if you like that, order their 90s epic, Fear of the Sky. There is not a bad track on this CD and it is very well produced. Every time I hear it, I wonder why the hell they didn't go right to the top (or at least closer to the top). And then I remember, in the time period this came out, anything that wasn't "grunge" was ignored by the industry.

Typical short sighted BS.

The band was recording the gig last night for a future live release. I can do this more justice with a proper CD review when it's out, so watch for that in a few months.

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